Disney and Pixar films are often associated with cheerful, light-hearted family films. Well, don’t conclude so soon. Disney has had stories with deep and touching moments that have gone down in cinematic history and left audiences all over the world flooding with tears, from the earliest Disney pictures in the 1930s to Pixar’s latest films.
Disney and Pixar have exploited the deaths and shattered hearts of our beloved characters to play with our emotions in films ranging from Bambi to Luca. However, they continue to make successful film after successful film, proving that it works. With movies these days, as they pay more and more attention to producing storylines that embrace family and friendship, each brings tears to our eyes more than ever. Sometimes, I have the feeling that every time I step into the cinema to watch a Disney movie, it’s like sitting on a roller coaster. Because that movie will surely drive us from the happiest emotions to the darkest, most heartbreaking moments.
Here are 17 of the most heartbreaking Disney movie scenes we’ve rounded up!
#1 Bambi – When Bambi’s mother was shot by a hunter
This was one of the deaths that started another series of heartbreaking Disney movie losses.
#2 The Lion King – When Mufasa died
I think we have nothing more to say about this scene. It took me 3 days to recover from this scene!
#3 The Fox And The Hound – When Widow Tweed left Tod in the woods
If the hound had been left in the woods instead of the fox, you’d think it would have been more dramatic… No, this was proof that Disney can crush people’s hearts no matter what animal they are.
#4 Toy Story 3 – When all the toys hold hands while facing death
As if the previous two films weren’t already enough of a rollercoaster, another heartbreaking scene from the Toy Story sequels. For a brief time, we believed we were about to witness the death of our childhood favorites. Seriously, my heart is just about to blow up when I’m watching this.
#5 Up – When Ellie died at the beginning of the movie
Disney opens up the film with extremely happy footage of Ellie and Carl’s love affair only to push us to the bottom of our sadness when Ellie dies. It’s really too cruel for Carl to lose his true love, and too cruel for the audience to have to witness it!
#6 Inside Out – When Bing Bong says his last words
This scene, in a film about emotions, was completely dominated by terrible sorrow. Disney not only understood the task, but also completed it with flying (tragic) colors.
#7 Beauty And The Beast – When The Beast was stabbed by Gaston
Yes, we know they got a happy ending in the end, but it felt like it was over for a while. It’s the line, “at least I got to see you one last time,” that always gets me.
#8 Dumbo – When Dumbo’s mum embraced him from the cage she’d be locked up in
Jumbo deserved more and witnessing her stretch her trunk through the bars to hold her infant was heartbreaking. I’m quite sure Dumbo wasn’t the one shedding buckets of tears in this scene.
#9 The Hunchback Of Notre Dame – When Quasimodo was mocked during the Festival of Fools
The treatment of our hero by Frollo’s guards and the audience is both unpleasant and upsetting. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who wished to leap into the screen and join Esmerelda’s battle.
#10 Moana – When Grandmother Tala died
We were all very familiar with the lost loved one move from Disney’s playbook by the time Moana came out, but that didn’t make this any less heartbreaking. It ached when Tala’s final words of wisdom and inspiration for Moana sounded like they came from Qui-Gon Jinn to Obi-Wan Kenobi.
#11 Finding Nemo – When there’s only one egg left
Disney does not waste time. We hadn’t even started eating our popcorn when a barracuda ate Marlin’s wife and eggs. This was awful, yet it succeeded in demonstrating that Marlin and Nemo’s bond is stronger than the sea (showing just how heartbreaking the entire premise of Finding Nemo is in the process).
#12 Brother Bear – When Koda found out what happened
This scene is part of a larger series of Disney’s terrible mother loss scenes. This one hurts because we witnessed Koda’s words fall apart right in front of our eyes.
#13 Lady And The Tramp – When Trusty got hit by a car
I suppose a Disney film wouldn’t be complete without a dash of danger, but the worst thing is that they kept us guessing about Trusty’s fate for far longer than they needed to. Every time I see Jock’s reaction, I cry like a puppy.
#14 Toy Story 2 – When Jessie sang about being abandoned by Emily
We all like a nostalgic, sentimental flashback. “When Somebody Loved Me” wasn’t quite the nostalgic nostalgia I was hoping for. Nothing hurts more than being abandoned, but imagine how much more painful it is when you are a toy and the owner’s love is everything to you.
#15 101 Dalmatians – When the puppies went missing
I’m sure this put you on edge, to say the least, if you look past the practicality of maintaining that many dogs in a property in London. It’s bad enough when one dog went lost, but they cruelly multiplied that pain by 101.
#16 Luca – When Alberto and Luca parted
It’s always difficult to say goodbye to two friends. With a departing train and a platform dash thrown in for good measure, it’s almost too much for my heart to bear. It was much more painful when they had to say their goodbyes after spending the summer together.
#17 Toy Story – When Woody finds out that he is no longer Andy’s favorite
Andy didn’t think twice about replacing his right-hand man with Buzz Lightyear, demonstrating to children everywhere that even your favorite deputy can cause rejection. And remember, nothing lasts forever.